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Tweet Of The Day

…travels the world

Tweet Of The Day, the early morning favourite that has established itself firmly in the daily routine of many Radio 4 listeners, is to fly the nest and venture beyond Britain’s shores as world traveller Michael Palin becomes part of the presenting team.

Palin will join Sir David Attenborough, Miranda Krestovnikoff, Chris Packham and Liz Bonnin on the new series, which begins in September.

When Tweet Of The Day launched last year, it was only British birds that were chosen to lure the nation into wakefulness, but from September this year, the Tweet Of The Day team will begin scouring the globe for the most interesting, distinctive and downright peculiar birdsong to bring back to Radio 4 listeners.

David Attenborough will launch the new series with the blue bird-of-paradise, a native of New Guinea. He comments: “When you first hear the call of the blue bird-of-paradise, it utters a sound so un-bird like you could be forgiven for thinking it came from some form of electronic device hidden nearby in the New Guinea forests.”

Also featured by Sir David will be the hyacinth macaw (pictured), the largest flying parrot species in the world and native to central and eastern South America.

Of the new series, Sir David says: “Having explored some of the richness and variety of British birds over the past year, I am delighted now to have the opportunity to venture beyond these shores and revisit through birdsong some of the extraordinary and far flung places I have been fortunate enough to visit during my career. Many species will bring back strong memories for me throughout the series, for example the hyacinth macaw, the emperor penguin and the majestic wandering albatross of the Southern Ocean.”

Michael Palin, whose globetrotting has been documented in such television series as Around The World In Eighty Days, Pole To Pole and Full Circle, will present the final 20 episodes of the series early next year.

Michael Palin says: “On my journeys round the world I'm as fascinated by the natural life as I am by the people I meet. Early morning birdsong is often the first thing to alert me to the fact that I'm somewhere new and different.”

For the benefit of those who have not yet been roused by the early morning Tweets: each episode lasts a minute and a half, and features the song of a particular bird followed by insights into that bird’s behaviour and habits, as well as its literary and folklore associations. The series tells the birds’ stories through science, social history, culture, literature, music and just pure rarity.

Gwyneth Williams, Controller, Radio 4, says: “I’m so pleased that Tweet Of The Day has captured the imagination of listeners in the way it has. It’s a wonderful way to start the day, and I look forward to many more birds from around the world joining our dawn chorus.”

Miranda Krestovnikoff will present the programme throughout October before handing the baton to Chris Packham for November. Liz Bonnin will take up the reins for December and January, before Michael Palin takes over.

Tweet Of The Day was named radio programme of the year at the Broadcasting Press Guild Awards earlier this year.

Julian Hector, Executive Producer at the Natural History Unit, says: “Birds both here in the UK and all over the world are intertwined with our social history and culture. Broadcast just before the busy news agenda gathers pace, I love the thought we can surprise our audiences with joy, letting nature say a few phrases too.”

Tweet Of The Day can be heard every weekday morning at 5.58am, just before the beginning of Today, and at 8.58am on a Sunday. Further information as well as every past episode of the series can be found on the Radio 4 website: bbc.co.uk/radio4/tweetoftheday

World Tweet Of The Day begins on 1 September.


25th August 2014